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RBC | Rangely, up to now, has mostly escaped cases of COVID-19. Over the holiday weekend, they’ve had an uptick in cases, with 32 active as of press time. Meeker’s case count has continued to climb as well, with 41 active Tuesday.

“It’s not slowing down,” said Public Health Director Alice Harvey.

In Rangely, third and fifth grade classes have been quarantined after two students tested positive. One Rangely resident tested positive at the Rangely District Hospital’s emergency room after a Thanksgiving gathering. According to Public Health Nurse Sarah Coker, at least 50% of that person’s contacts have also tested positive. It’s the first indication of community spread in Rangely.

Pioneers Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer Karen Iaocune said they are seeing an average of one COVID-19 patient at the hospital each day. Only two individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Rangely District Hospital is seeing slightly fewer COVID patients coming through.

Harvey said positivity rates for testing are “over 20%”. Those numbers put Rio Blanco County well into the “red level” on the state’s COVID-19 dial. With two of three criteria in the red, the state opted to move RBC into the yellow level on Monday, Nov. 30. The state website is lagging behind on updates, and as of press time was still showing RBC in “green.”

Harvey said they have been told to expect the first allocation of vaccine in just a few weeks. Hospitals and healthcare workers will be the first to be immunized. Community vaccination will be done in tiers, by public health, starting with critical workforce and high risk individuals. As more vaccine becomes available, it will be available for the general public.